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Case #8-1: Failure to Put Deposit in Separate Account

Published Monday, July 6, 2015

REALTOR® A, a listing broker, obtained a signed offer to purchase, together with Buyer C’s check for $5,000 as an earnest money deposit. Buyer C’s offer was subject to the sale of his current residence. REALTOR® A presented the offer to Seller B who accepted it. REALTOR® A then inadvertently deposited the earnest money check in his personal checking account. Since Buyer C’s offer was contingent on the sale of his current home, Seller B’s house remained on the market. A week later, REALTOR® A received another offer to purchase Seller B’s house from another broker and presented it to the seller as a back-up offer. Buyer C was informed about this new offer and reluctantly concluded that he would be unable to waive the sale contingency or proceed with the purchase of Seller B’s house. He then asked REALTOR® A for his $5,000 check back. REALTOR® A explained that he had mistakenly deposited Buyer C’s check in his personal bank account which had been attached since he received Buyer C’s offer, and he was temporarily unable to refund the deposit to Buyer C. More

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